As noted by Akis, Tyreke Evans did not travel with the Kings for Wednesday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers. This will mark the 9th game missed due to this injury, with Evans also being limited to just 10 minutes in Sacramento's Dec 16 loss to the Denver Nuggets. As the missed games add up, the question keeps getting asked, when can we expect Tyreke back? Well, I'm not a doctor and I have no inside knowledge as to his situation. What I do have is personal experience with knee injuries and a willingness to speculate.
In high school I suffered from severe tendonitis in both knees. At one point it was so bad I could barely bend my knees. I endured years of physical therapy to go along with years of nearly-constant pain. This is a far different medical issue than what Tyreke is going through. He's reportedly dealing with a bone bruise and continued swelling around the knee. But while the injuries are in no way the same, there are some universal truths when it comes to knees.
First off, knee issues aren't the type of injury where you can simply gut it out and keep going. If your knee is messed up, pushing yourself further will only mess it up further. That's a big reason my knees got so bad. I was stubborn, refused rest, and tried to play through the pain. So any calls for Tyreke to man up and play through it are calls that should be silenced.
Second, there's not going to be a set timetable. If there's swelling, something is wrong. The medical staff can treat it in a variety of ways, but every knee is different. When Tyreke starts increasing activity, he and the medical staff need to see how the knee responds. If it begins swelling and hurting again, the activity level needs to decrease.
Third, I want Tyreke's knee to be 100% when he comes back. Running, cutting, changing direction, these are motions that are tricky on a suspect knee. There's an uncertainty, a wobbly feeling that anyone who's ever had a knee injury completely understands. Even when you recover and no longer have pain, it takes a while longer to fully trust that knee again.
I hope Tyreke comes back soon. This team can use all the help it can get. But I want him to take his time and come back when he's healthy. If he needs to be shut down for an extended period of time, that's fine by me. The Kings medical staff has a history of mismanaging injuries in the past. Think about how long Tyreke went game-by-game suffering with plantar fasciitis. Think about the medical crew misdiagnosing Kevin Martin's ankle injury causing him to miss even longer. That, to me, is the scariest part of this ongoing issue.
I want Tyreke back, but I want him back healthy. No matter how long that might take.